Tabbouleh and Labane bi khiyar- Vegetarian/Vegan friendly!

A Lebanese feast is my idea of heaven! We have an awesome authentic Lebanese restaurant in Wollongong. It's family-run and you just know that the recipes they use have been in the family for generations. It's such an amazing cuisine because it can be so light, with gorgeous salads and grilled skewers with chicken, lamb and beef, and so heavy with deep-fried goodies and rich creamy dips!

Labane bi khiyar is basically the Lebanese name for a dip thats almost identical to the Greek Tzatziki. It's a yoghurt-based dip with freshly grated cucumber, with loads of mint, garlic and lemon juice. It also can refer to a salad with the same ingredients.

Tabbouleh is a salad traditionally made of chopped fresh parsley, finely diced tomato, cucumber, onion and burghal- otherwise known as bulgur which is cracked wheat. It's really delicious and pretty good for you too!

You will need...

For the salad
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp finely chopped grated lemon rind
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 lebanese cucumber, seeds removed, peeled if desired.
1/2 spanish onion
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp boiling water
2 tbsp burghul cracked wheat
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

To make...
1. Pour the boiling water over the burghal and set aside to soak.
2. Meanwhile, finely chop your parsley, crush the garlic, dice the onion and cucumber into a fine brunoise (small 5mm squares) and then quarter the tomatoes, scrape the majority of the seeds out and finely dice aswell.
3. Once your burghal has absorbed all the liquid, use a fork to fluff it up, pop in the fridge for a minute or two to quickly cool
4. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

For the dip
1 1/2 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed
1 clove garlic
1 cup plain Greek-style yoghurt- if you would like the vegan option, you may opt for a soy yoghurt instead
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp chopped fresh mint
1 tsp chopped fresh coriander (optional)
loads of cracked pepper and a pinch of garlic
1/4 tsp cumin (optional too)

To make...
1. Grate the cucumber (or dice into brunoise if you have extra time and want a nicer presentation- but I'm hangry so I'm going to grate!), crush the garlic, and chop the mint and coriander and mix into the yoghurt with the lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper.
2. Drizzle with a little olive oil if desired for presentation, and serve with a bowl of the tabbouleh and some fresh (or oven baked) Pita bread for dipping. I BBQ'd some leftover pork sausage to go with mine and sat in the backyard soaking up the afternoon sun with a lovely cider. The perfect afternoon treat (maybe omit the sausage if you're a vegetarian ;-))!!


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